Unless you thought of it yourself

When I was about 11 years old I subscribed to Boy’s Life magazine, the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. I was not a member of the Boy Scouts but I enjoyed the magazine.

It was on the Boy’s Life humor page that I was introduced to a Tom Swifty, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a play on words taking the form of a quotation ascribed to Tom and followed by an adverb.”

An example of a Tom Swifty: “I lost my crutches,” said Tom lamely. Another: “The doctor had to remove my left ventricle,” said Tom half-heartedly.

A few more for good measure: “I have a split personality,” said Tom, being frank. “I like modern painting,” said Tom abstractly. “You have the right to remain silent,” said Tom arrestingly.

And thus began my lifelong love of puns. When I share a pun, verbally or in written form, the reaction is invariably a groan or some other form of negativity. People love to hate puns. Puns have been called the lowest form of humor.

The late newspaper columnist Doug Larson knew the truth about puns. He wrote, “A pun is the lowest form of humor, unless you thought of it yourself.”

So that you can judge for yourself, here are some of my favorite puns:

. Light travels faster than sound. That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak

. The police found a misspelled message written in blood. They suspect it was a type-o.

. I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off.

. I lost my job at the bank on my very first day. A woman asked me to check her balance, so I pushed her over.

. A police officer just knocked on my door and told me my dogs are chasing people on bikes. That’s ridiculous. My dogs don’t even own bikes.

. Yesterday, I accidentally swallowed some food coloring. The doctor says I’m okay, but I feel like I’ve dyed a little inside.

. Why does the Little Mermaid wear Sea Shells? Because D shells were too big!

. I’m addicted to brake fluid, but it’s okay because I can stop at any time.

. The past, the present and the future all walk into a bar. It was tense.

. It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

. England doesn’t have a kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

. People who can’t tell the difference between entomology and etymology bug me in ways I can’t put into words.

. I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down!

. What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One is really heavy and the other is a little lighter!

Finally, my favorite pun of all —

…. an Austrian, a Bangladeshi, a Belgian, a Bosnian, a Brazilian, a Brit, a Cambodian, a Canadian, a Chilean, a Chinese, a Colombian, a Cuban, a Czech, a Dane, a Dutchman, an Ecuadorean, an Egyptian, a Finn, a Frenchman, a German, a Greek, a Guyanese, a Honduran, a Hungarian, an Icelander, an Indian, an Indonesian, an Iranian, an Irishman, an Israeli, an Italian, a Japanese, a Jordanian, a Kenyan, a Laotian, a Lebanese, a Lithuanian, a Luxembourger, a Macedonian, a Mexican, a Moldovan, a Moroccan, a Nepalese, a New Zealander, a Nigerian, a Norwegian, a Pakistani, a Palestinian, a Peruvian, a Pole, a Portuguese, a Romanian, a Russia, a Saudi, a Scottish, a Somali, a South African, a South Korean, a Spaniard, a Swede, a Syrian, a Taiwanese, a Turkish, a Ugandan, a Ukrainian, a Venezuelan, a Vietnamese, a Welshman, a Zambian all go to a nightclub.

The doorman stops them and says, “Sorry I can’t let you in without a Thai.”

Technically, a pun is called a paronomasia. Fancy word for such a low form of humor, don’t you think? I’ll stick with “pun” and take my lumps … and groans.

Arvid Huisman can be contacted at huismaniowa@gmail.com. ©2024 by Huisman Communications


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